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The Chair of the local cross-border group, the Irish Central Border Area Network (ICBAN), has responded to the recent announcement of a £150 million investment in broadband infrastructure over the next two years. Councillor Cáthal Mallaghan said, “As a group who have actively engaged in promoting the need for broadband investments, we very much welcome this announcement. Our partnership of eight member Councils in the border region has recognised the need for adequate internet connectivity as a priority for some time and the need for all citizens to be able to avail of a high quality internet service.

“This priority has driven much of the organisation’s work in the past few years and an initiative entitled ‘Fibre at a Cross Roads’ has produced two reports for the ICBAN Councils on the northern side of the border to help tackle and provide solutions to the issues of inadequate broadband. Part of this initiative also involved extensively lobbying of the NI Executive and Assembly as well as government departments, telecoms providers and other stakeholders on the need to bring fibre deeper into the rural areas of the Region.

“It is to be acknowledged that whilst much has been done to improve broadband provision, there are still significant gaps. The UK Government has also accepted that “challenges remain” and it is hoped that the monies pledged will be prudently used to deliver timely and efficient broadband solutions to those who find lack of sufficient connectivity an obstacle to daily life and business.”

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